Pyongyang may not be a place people consider when they think about restaurants, but the city has a growing middle class and as such an improving culinary scene. Having visited Pyongyang for more than ten years now this list leans a lot more towards the more modern and newer restaurants as while some of the classics are definitely great, everything gets stale with repetition.
5. Moranbong Restaurant
Located just opposite the Moranbong Hotel and owned by the same Joint Venture Company, this small restaurant serves a mix of Korean and Japanese dishes, with fairly good Sashimi (although it’s often pre-frozen) and a good range of Sake and Soju, considering it’s in Pyongyang. You can see the Chef working from the tables as they are centrally located and on display as it were. The food is quite good but it’s the atmosphere and drinks to go with it that makes this place special. (Bonus: Afterwards you can also go across to the cafe inside the hotel for a decent coffee and some of the best ice cream in town).
4. Rakugwan Restaurant
A fairly new restaurant in Pyongyang, this place specializes in seafood and it sure is special. They have 13 different kinds of steamed seafood including oysters, crab, clams and turtle and is also well known for its Ojuk (Seafood porridge). The seafood is all apparently delivered daily or kept live on site. If seafood isn’t your thing, they also have BBQ with Beef, Pork, Mutton and if you’re lucky even Ostrich is available. They also make their own draft beer and medicinal liquors.
3. RyungSong Italian Restaurant
Located on Mirae Scientist street, the chefs here were all trained by an Italian chef who visited Pyongyang to teach them how to make Pizza and Pasta. It’s by far the best Pizza in town and at about 8 dollars a pizza it’s very well priced as well. They do a great Spicy Chicken pizza, and the Kimchi pizza is definitely worth a try unless you’re solidly in no to Kimchi camp. You can also get some decent red wines (especially if you know your way around wine as the collection can be eclectic). On top of all this, they’ll deliver!
2. The Ryugyong Restaurant
This restaurant is part of the Ryugyong Complex, which contains a department store, swimming pool/ service center and a cafe as well as the restaurant. Formerly known as the Haedanghwa and part of Jang Song Taek’s fiefdom, it has been renamed after his abrupt fall from grace. While ordering off-menu is also worthwhile, the Teppanyaki set menus are well worth the money and the Chefs are both skilled and entertaining. With dishes ranging from steak and scallops to Goose liver served in a deyolked egg in the shell with Caviar on top (Excuse my ignorance if there’s a common name for this) and accompanied by a rose tea and soju cocktail, it’s a great experience and a great meal.
1. Kenji Fujimoto’s Sushi Restaurant
Properly named the Takahashi Sushi Restaurant, the Chef is the star attraction. With a long history linked directly to the ruling Kim Family (he was the Sushi chef for Kim Jong Il and watched Kim Jong Un grow up). He returned to Japan in 2001 after his first visit, where he wrote three books about his time in the country. To the surprise of many, he was welcomed back in 2012 and opened Takahashi Sushi Restaurant in 2017. Since then Foreign Media have claimed at least once that he had“disappeared”, which has proven false. YPT visits his restaurant whenever we have the chance and it’s absolutely worth it. It’s not easy to find but if you’d like to visit let us know.